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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/23/2017 10:04AM ET


Site: Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.

Kickoff: Saturday, noon. TV: ESPN.

Line: South Florida by 3.

All-time series: First meeting.

Last meeting: None.


Coach: Charlie Strong (1st season, 9-2; overall 8th season, 62-39).

All-time postseason: 5-3.

Last postseason appearance: Beat South Carolina 46-39 (OT) in 2016 Birmingham Bowl.

Draft spotlight: DT Deadrin Senat. No.2 on team in tackles despite his interior position, Senat displays a powerful upper body and hand strength to dispose of blockers. He’s been USF’s leading tackler among linemen for three seasons. For a player who plays a ton of snaps, Senat competes with a steady motor and rarely takes plays off.

Other Bulls to watch: QB Quentin Flowers, WR Marquez Valdes-Scanting, LB Auggie Sanchez, DB Deatrick Nichols.

Bull Runs: USF makes its third bowl trip to Birmingham and second in as many years, having also played in the inaugural edition in 2006. The Bulls beat East Carolina that year. … Flowers, MVP of last year’s bowl, needs just 47 yards to become the AAC’s career total offense leader. … The Bulls are 2-2 vs. Power 5 bowl opponents.


Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (5th season, 30-32).

All-time postseason: 14-22-1.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to LSU 56-27 in 2015 Texas Bowl.

Draft spotlight: QB Nic Shimonek. The Iowa transfer is listed as the No.11 QB prospect in the draft pool, completing 68 percent of his throws in 2017 for 295.6 yards per game. Plays with a confidence that belies a first-year starter, Shimonek moves well in the pocket and has a good sense for pressure.

Other Red Raiders to watch: WR Dylan Cantrell, WR Cameron Batson, WR Derrick Willies.

Raider Intel: Though this marks Texas Tech’s 38th bowl appearance, it’s just the 16th outside the state of Texas. It’s just their fifth outside the Lone Star State since 2000. … TTU has won four of its past five bowl contests, with the lone loss against LSU two years ago. … WR Keke Coutee has four games topping 150 yards receiving.

* underclass draft prospect

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